AGU logoKutztown logoEffects of Climate Change on Regional Crop Production in Eastern Pennsylvania

Ross, Sunshyne T., and Mangan, Jennifer M., 2009 [abs]: Effects of Climate Change on Regional Crop Production in Eastern Pennsylvania, American Geophysical Union fall meeting (14-18 December 2009, San Francisco, CA) (abstract no. B23A-0350)

Sunshyne Ross at AGU 2009Regional climate changes can significantly alter crop yields for agriculturally important areas. Berks County, PA, is an agrarian community whose crop production is typical of southeastern Pennsylvania, with corn as a major crop. Mean annual temperatures in Pennsylvania are predicted to increase by 4 degrees C and precipitation is expected to increase 5% by 2100. We examined changes in 20th Century Berks County crop yields, particularly corn, in response to yearly variations in temperature and precipitation. Crop yields for corn are predicted by models to increase up to a 29 degrees C threshold, beyond which yields will significantly decrease. This study quantifies the effects of recent climate change on Berks County crop production and predicts potential changes for the future. It is important to consider regional climate change effects if we are to fully understand the impacts of global change on food crop production. This study also incorporates anecdotal data from farmers to note their perceptions of crop productivity as related to environmental changes and to determine other factors that may affect farming practices and crop yields.

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Kurt Friehauf - December 2009